Steinmeier honored the memory of paratroopers at the crypt in Prague, talks to Afghanistan about Afghanistan
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier near the crypt of the Orthodox Church in Resslova Street in Prague honored the memory of Czechoslovak paratroopers who fell in battle with the Nazis after the assassination of the deputy Reich Protector Reinhard Heydrich. He later met with President Miloš Zeman, where they talked about Czech-German relations, the situation in Afghanistan and the EU’s green plan.
By laying a wreath, the German president paid tribute to the paratroopers who died in June 1942 after fighting the German superiority. Among those killed were Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš, who three weeks earlier had successfully attacked the Reich Protector Reinhard Heydrich. Adolf Opálka, Josef Valčík, Jan Hrubý, Josef Bublík and Jaroslav Švarc also died in the church and crypt. Not only their memory since 1995 is commemorated directly in the Cyril and Methodius temple located National Monument to the Heroes of the Heydrichiad.
In the past, only a few presidents and important representatives of foreign states went to the crypt. The monument was visited by the Austrian President Heinz Fischer, the British Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Greek, Bulgarian and Cypriot President or the current British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the role of Foreign Minister. In 1995, the German Ambassador to Prague, Rolf Hofstetter, was on the scene.
The presidential convoy arrived at the church from Charles Square around 10:20. Police motorcycles and lighthouse cars were at the forefront, and heavy traffic in Resslova Street was reduced for a short time. The German president placed a bouquet near the temple, tied with white and red anthuriums and yellow and light red gladioli. Then, accompanied by his wife, he greeted the spiritual temple and entered the crypt.
After a quarter of an hour’s visit, the German delegation climbed the stairs to the monument to the executed resistance fighters, co-workers and relatives of paratroopers who are the landing of the church. There she lit a candle. Shortly before 11 o’clock, seven police motorcyclists started again and the convoy started moving towards the Castle.
Federal President Frank-Walter #Steinmeier today, as the first German president to honor the memory of paratroopers who fell in battle with the Nazis after the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich and the memory of the victims of the villages #Lidice AND # Lagers. The courage of these resistance fighters is unforgettable. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/gRCWF3SNuh
– Embassy of Germany (@velvyslanec_SRN) August 26, 2021
From the crypt to the Castle
At Prague Castle, the German president met with his Czech counterpart Miloš Zeman, who thanked him for visiting the place of reverence. “He was the first German politician to visit this crypt. I see it as a very symbolic gesture,” he said.
Zeman said he was pleased with the long-delayed visit due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “And I am even more pleased with the way it is going. In a completely matter-of-fact and very friendly atmosphere, which I would like to appreciate,” he said. According to him, relations between the Czech Republic and Germany have never been better. “I would like to thank Germany for its support during the covid pandemic, even at the level of individual federal states,” he added.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Czech President Miloš Zeman. | Photo: Jakub Plíhal
According to him, the debate concerned the situation in Afghanistan, which was dominated by the radical Islamist movement Taliban. “Our views are very close here. On the other hand, they touched on the Green Deal (Green Agreement for Europe), where I would say that our views are quite different,” he said. According to him, there was also talk of transport connections between Prague and Munich, but also about the regulation of the Elbe.
Steinmeier said he was very much looking forward to the visit. “I really care that when our relationships can hardly be better, so that the growing friendship can be further developed, passed on to the next generation,” he said. According to him, it is extraordinary where relations have managed to return in the last 30 years. “Our friendship has such a solid foundation that it has become independent of political constellations on either side,” he said of the elections in both countries.
He remembered the connection between the two countries on his way to Prague, where he went by train. “It’s hard to have a capital so close to Berlin,” he said. He therefore used the trip to talk to commuters from both sides. He wants to make sure that the borders are no longer closed due to the covid-19 epidemic. “Cross-border cooperation leads to benefits on both sides, promotes good neighborliness and friendship,” he said. According to him, other EU countries could be inspired by the Czech-German example.
At the honorary court of Prague Castle, the President of the Republic 🇨🇿 Miloš Zeman and Mrs. Ivana Zemanová with the highest honors welcomed the President of the Federal Republic of Germany 🇩🇪 Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Mrs. Elke Büdenbender. pic.twitter.com/HDLISYEeOt
– Jiří Ovčáček (@PREZIDENTmluvci) August 26, 2021
He said, “President has shown great humility.”
The German president then also met with the Speaker of both chambers of parliament – Radek Vondráček (YES) and Senate Chief Miloš Vystrčil (ODS). He appreciated that Steinmeier is one of the few politicians who is able to unite even at the European level.
“Mr. President has shown great humility, great understanding and a great will to contribute to mutual cooperation and understanding of our problems, both in terms of history and in terms of the present and the future,” Vystrčil said after the meeting. “They are trying to get us to work together naturally, not on the basis that someone is dictating to us,” he added.
He pushed out to point out that due to the experience with communism, the Czech Republic does not like setting too synthetic goals. “We are very allergic to the European Union setting out something similar and planning things for decades to come about that it is not clear whether this can be done,” he said. According to Vystrčil, Germany will also adapt changes in energy policy to its effects.
Thursday’s program will end with a gala reception at the German Embassy for invited guests. The German president will leave Prague on Friday after talks with Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (YES). On the way to Germany, he will stop in Ústí nad Labem, where he will visit an exhibition on Czech-German relations. Then he leaves the train by train back to Berlin.